Central Amsterdam is easily explored on foot, or doing as the locals do and hiring a bike.
With over 400km of dedicated cycle lanes, Amsterdam is one of the easiest and safest cities to explore by bike with kids.
Be sure to take a bicycle lock with you, as bicycle theft is extremely common in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam also has an impressive public transport system, with an extensive network of trams, buses, metros, ferries and trains.
Before travelling to Amsterdam, check out official travel rules and regulations that may affect your trip.
For visitors, the most commonly used form of public transport is the trams, which are quick, frequent and efficient and will take you to most points of interest in Amsterdam.
- Children under the age of 4 travel for free
- Children aged 4-11 can buy a child ticket
Read on for our full guide to public transport in Amsterdam.
Trams are one of the quickest and easiest ways to get around Amsterdam.
Trams are the transport of choice for most tourists as they will take you to most attractions and Amsterdam points of interest.
While most Amsterdam attractions are concentrated in the city centre, you are likely to get on the tram at least once during you visit to the city, whether you are staying one day in Amsterdam or planning a longer stay
Most tram lines operate from Amsterdam Central Station.
Outside you will find two tram stations, one on the East side, which has trams running East and South, and one on the West, with trams running West and North.
Trams run from 6am on weekdays (7am at weekends) until around midnight.
Each tram stop has line maps and timetables, with many having real time electronic information screens.
Strollers are allowed on the tram, but you will need to enter the tram at the back.
There are designated stroller parking areas on the tram, marked with lines on the floor.
If this spot is already occupied, the tram driver may ask you to wait for the next tram. Note also that the stroller space is also the wheelchair space, and understand that wheelchairs should take precedence.
Tip: Tram 2 is one of the most beautiful tram routes in the world, as voted by National Geographic Traveler magazine. This popular sightseeing route takes you past many of Amsterdam’s top attractions, including Vondelpark, the canals, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.
The Amsterdam Metro is quicker than the tram, but does not have as many stops. The metro is the best option if you plan on visiting the outlying suburbs, while the tram remains the easiest and most efficient for getting around the city centre.
There are several free local ferry services that cross the IJ River, connecting the city centre with Amsterdam Noord.
The most popular route is the 5-minute journey to Buiksloterweg, with ferries running every few minutes. A countdown clock displaying the destination and remaining time to departure is above each docking bay.
Taxis in Amsterdam are expensive and therefore not hugely popular.
You cannot flag a taxi down on the street so you will need to either call one or go to an official taxi rank. You will often find taxis outside major Amsterdam hotels too. Licensed taxis have blue licence plates. Taxi fares are according to the meter.
Tickets for Public Transport in Amsterdam
There are several options for public transport tickets in Amsterdam, which can be a bit confusing for the first-time visitor. Here we outline the different options:
These rechargeable public transport cards can be bought at public transport counters, station ticket machines, convenience stores, supermarkets and select newsstands. They are bought with no credit so you will need to add credit before you can travel.
Locals have personalized OV-chipkaarts but tourists will need to opt for an anonymous (suitable for several days) or disposable card (suitable for one trip or one day). These are valid on all public transport and can be topped up at the public transport counter or ticket machines.
GVB Day Ticket
This ticket provides you with unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam, day and night, on the bus, tram, and metro.
The day ticket is valid for 24 hours after you first check in. These tickets are only valid in GVB metros, trams, and buses, not on regional buses of Connexxion and EBS or on the train. It is also not valid on travel to/from Schipol Airport.
You can buy the GVB day ticket from GVB ticket offices, ticket machines on metro platforms, some hotels, tourist information centres and from the driver or conductor on the tram. Children aged 4-11 can purchase a very economical children’s ticket (around 1/3 of the price of an adult ticket).
GVB Multi-day Ticket
As above, you can also buy a multi-day ticket. This works in the same way as the day ticket, but is sold in increments of 24-hours (eg. 48 hours, 72 hours, 96 hours – up to 7 days).
The day ticket is valid for the appropriate number of hours from when you first check in.
The main difference between the day ticket and the multi-day ticket is that it cannot be bought on the tram.
You can purchase it from GVB ticket offices, ticket machines on metro platforms, some hotels and tourist information centres. You can also buy your multi-day ticket online before you go using the link below.
Amsterdam Travel Ticket
The Amsterdam travel ticket is valid for 1, 2 or 3 days and includes travel on all public transport, including Schipol airport transfer by train or bus.
However, note that the Amsterdam travel ticket is valid per day, not per 24-hours, and so if you first use it in the evening, it will expire that night.
Therefore this is of best value if first used in the morning, and for example an airport transfer in the evening.
I Amsterdam City Card
If you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing and tourist attractions in Amsterdam, then the I Amsterdam city card can be a very economical option.
This card is valid for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours and includes entrance to over 40 Amsterdam tourist attractions and museums in addition to unlimited public transport, a free canal cruise and discounts on restaurants, theatre tickets and more.
Tip: Make sure you tap your ticket when you enter and leave the tram/bus/metro
Getting from the airport in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Schipol is located around 20km south-west of Amsterdam. There are various options for getting from the airport into Amsterdam: train, bus, hotel shuttle and taxi.
Train from Schipol to Amsterdam
The train is the quickest way to get from the airport into Amsterdam. The Schipol train station is located underneath the airport.
Travel time from Schipol to Amsterdam Central Station is around 15-20 minutes.
There are around 10 trains per hour between 6am and 1am, and trains run every hour throughout the night.
Tickets for the train can be purchased at the ticket office in the arrivals hall, and from the yellow ticket machines in both the baggage reclaim area and on the train platform.
Top tip: Travelling with a stroller? You can take the elevator from the arrivals hall directly to the train platform.”]
Bus from Schipol to Amsterdam
The Amsterdam Airport Express bus 197 departs every 15 minutes from 5am – 00.30am. Buses leave from bus stop B9 outside the arrivals hall. Travel time into the city is around 30 minutes.
The Amsterdam Airport Express bus goes to Elandsgracht Station (not to Amsterdam Central Station). This is a good option if you are staying in the Museum Quarter.
Schipol Hotel Shuttle
The Schipol hotel shuttle takes passengers directly to their hotel door. The 8-seater shuttle leaves every 30-minutes between 6am and 9.30pm from bus stop A7 outside the arrivals hall.
Travel time from the airport to Amsterdam is around 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic and the number of hotel stops required. This is a good option for groups staying at the same hotel, as groups are offered a discount.
Taxi from Airport into Amsterdam
A taxi into Amsterdam from the airport will cost around €45-50. Travel time will be approximately 25-45 minutes, depending on traffic. The taxi stand is located directly outside the arrivals hall.
Alternatively, you can call and Uber to collect you from the airport. Or click here to pre-book a private transfer from the airport into Amsterdam.
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